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Guest Review: Penny Dreadful

Guest Review: Tim Myers

This is the graphic literary prequel by the team at Titan Comics based on the Showtime original series of the same name woven by executive co-producer John Logan. Enter a world of vampires as you delve into these 30 masterfully created panels. With themes of demonic possession and other occult occurrences, Chris King, the executive producer of this series, together with Titan Comics, intertwines a tale, along with screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns, and a host of other contributors, of a psychic medium (Vanessa Ives), a knight (Sir Malcolm Murray), and his steadfast man-servant (Sambene) as they investigate the mysterious disappearance of Sir Malcolm’s daughter, Mina Harker. Waylaid in route to her groom’s residence in Essex and forced to finish their journey on foot, the trio arrive at their destination, laden with misgivings about her destiny.

They find a hellish inferno and are attacked by an insidious demonic force soon after they enter the Harker estate. The trio is saved by none other than Jonathan Harker, Mina’s passionate, yet clearheaded groom who seems to have superior knowledge and experience combating these otherworldly beings.

Cover art segment ©2017 Titan Comics

Cover art segment ©2017 Titan Comics

Set in Victorian England, we are treated to scenes of bone-chilling horror, spine-tingling suspense, bloody tormented misery, and unearthly beings as Wilson-Cairns pens the script which accompanies the artfully illustrated panels depicting trans-mundane beings. Melding familiar, yet dystopian subjects, Penny Dreadful is a captivating tale. Malcolm laments the loss of his daughter, while Vanessa uses her psychic abilities in an attempt at discerning her friend’s fate. They are attacked by a demon and the sudden appearance of Mina’s groom sparks a conflict with Malcolm, as Mr. Harker insinuates that the blame for his daughter’s abduction rests squarely on Malcolm’s shoulders alone, for if he had not foresworn their nuptials this would not have happened.

The artwork conveys a general sense of the foreboding in each of these panels, sparing little thought for the squeamish among us. As we anxiously await more prequels of this chronicle, Penny Dreadful is sure to inspire night-terrors among its younger readers, whilst keeping the more seasoned lovers of graphic literature on the edges of their seats.

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